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Lisa Webb Takes Second Place in Husbandry Category at the AALAS Meeting

We are proud to announce that the work of one of our team members has been recognized while on display at the AALAS National Meeting in November. Lisa Webb designed a study to prove whether the type of environmental enrichment would have a positive effect to help reduce food grinding in mice. Lisa received peer support on the project and she was very excited when she was selected by the AALAS committee to present at the National Meeting.

Food grinding is a common problem observed among CD-1 mice. It occurs when rodents chew food pellets, but do not consume them, resulting in excessive food particles (orts) in the cage bedding. Overall, this study demonstrates environmental enrichment that promotes nesting behavior in mice can be used to help decrease food grinding behavior leading to improved animal welfare and well being while decreasing management costs. The abstract and poster submitted are available for reading below.

“Can Type of Environmental Enrichment Help Reduce food Grinding in Mice” by Lisa Webb, took second place in the Husbandry Category out of 100 entries. Following Lisa’s presentation, many people from the audience approached her to further discuss her ideas.

Our commitment to deliver innovative solutions to clients is what makes Mispro Biotech Services the North American leader in multi-user vivarium facility management and animal husbandry services. If you would like more information, please do not hesitate to contact us.

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ABSTRACT: Can Type of Environmental Enrichment Help Reduce Food Grinding in Mice?
LH Webb* , A Pacio Research Triangle Park, Mispro Biotech Services Corporation, Durham, NC

We questioned if different types of environmental enrichment can affect or reduce food grinding in research mice. Food grinding is a common problem observed among CD-1 mice in our animal program. It occurs when rodents chew food pellets, but do not consume them, resulting in excessive food particles (orts) in the cage bedding. Food grinding leads to more frequent cage changes attributing to increased animal stress, as well as higher food and management costs. The hypothesis is that food grinding occurs due to boredom, composition of diet, or lack of natural behavior opportunities. According to previous published studies conducted to evaluate if the causes of food grinding were behavioral or nutritional deficits, it was concluded that change in diet or additional nutritional enrichment (i.e. sunflower seeds) was most effective at reducing overall food grinding behavior. However, as is the case in most animal studies, change in diet or added edible enrichment is considered an unacceptable study variable. In our animal program, a modification to environmental enrichment is the initial approach to address stereotypical behaviors. This study compared mice known for grinding (CD-1 male and females) with mice not known for grinding (C57BL/6 males). Mice were given a different enrichment type each week, starting with a single product followed by combinations of products for 1 week each. Food consumption, individual body weight, and visual ort rating scale were measured over the 13-week study. Preliminary data results suggest that a single enrichment product offered has little to no impact on food grinding behavior. Mice had increased weight gain when offered nesting enrichment as compared to enrichment that promoted chewing behaviors, which resulted in weight loss. This suggests that, when given a single product, mice prefer nesting enrichment versus chewing enrichment as represented by increased individual body weights, but has mixed results on reducing food grinding behavior. Overall, this study demonstrates environmental enrichment that promotes nesting behavior in mice can be used to help decrease food grinding behavior leading to improved animal welfare and well being while decreasing management costs.

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